Social media has revolutionized the field of public relations. Given that public relations is centered on communication, the addition of social media has given PR representatives a new medium to reach their publics. These are the specific ways that social media has forever changed public relations:
Speaking Directly to the Public
Public relations officials now have the ultimate means of communicating directly with their audiences. In the social media era, news can be published from a company at any time and be instantly received by the public. By utilizing social media correctly, PR representatives can represent their companies in the best light by quickly responding to any issues that may arise.
Gone are the days of press releases and news publications only. Social media has opened the doors of two-way communication with the audience. Using the variety of channels at a PR representative’s disposal, a company can put out all sorts of interactive and engaging content that audiences can directly respond to. From Facebook likes to Twitter threads and to YouTube comments, the public has a means of directly communicating with the company, as well as the rest of the public on that platform, what they love and what they hate.
The 24/7 News Cycle
Social media and the internet are responsible for the modern 24/7 news cycle. There is always global news being reported on and being presented to the public. With so much information accessible to everyone at any given time, audiences have had to choose what stories they give their time to. News does not stay relevant for a long period of time because there is a flood of news to replace it. PR representatives need to constantly put out content that catches the interest of the public in order to remain relevant and stay in the minds of the public at large.
Everyone is Always Watching
Following the previous points, the social media era has presented the public with the opportunity to watch and publicly criticize any company at any given time. With this, the need to present a company in the best light possible at all times is given more importance than ever before. Problems are quickly able to escalate out of control, so PR representatives must keep a firm watch on how the public is viewing the company.
Strategic communication is now more affordable than ever before. Social media has allowed for increased experimentation on an unprecedented level. With the low financial cost that digital communication demands, public relations representatives can experiment to determine what works and what does not in order to most effectively communicate with their target audience.
Public relations has forever been changed by the uprising of social media, and the industry will never be the same again. In a field centered on communication, the implementation of social media into PR plans is necessary to continue communicating to the public effectively. While there have been positive and negative consequences, social media has changed public relations for the better and allows for increased communications with all publics.